Bodnar V2 - known as Simsteering 2 (SS2) - my impressions

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User 12058

I recently became the owner of a new Bodnar V2 wheel, and decided to post my impressions and findings on it. There isn't a lot of information available on this wheel, other than songs and praises, I always like to look at hardware a bit more in-depth to understand what makes it tick, as well as looking at plusses and minuses, if any.

Below my review:

What is it, where to buy
Simsteering 2 is the successor to the original Simsteering wheels, and is developed with the focus on professional use. The wheel touts features such as a true linear response, high-strength FFB motors, as well as the ultimate in realism where FFB is concerned.

Being developed for professional use, these wheels are seen in public simulators, race car training simulators, as well as road-car training simulators.

According to their website, the system is used by a variety of teams participating in race series, including F1, GP2, F3, LMP1, LMP2 and WTCC.

For more info, visit here: http://www.simsteering.com/products.html

Components
My specific unit is comprised of:

AKM54G servo motor
Controller unit
Motor power and encoder cables
Emergency stop switch
USB cable

Specifications
3 different servo motors are available, based on your requirements:

AKM52G - 16NM
AKM53G - 20.5NM
AKM54G - 26NM

Installation
Mechanical installation onto my 8020 rig was relatively quick and easy - I had to remove my existing Lenze servo steering column, fabricate a new cross-brace to hold the AKM servo. Other than that, I am using my own mounting plate, as well as shaft coupler and 70mm adapter ring to bolt the wheel onto.

Electrical installation was painless, although I find the power and encoder connectors on the Control unit a bit fiddly, not the same quality as the AMP connectors on the Servo. With that said, they are still very decent and better than most out there though. The rest was connecting the USB B cable, and mains.

Setup
Setup is quick and rather easy, very similar to the DIY DD wheel (MMoS) interface - similar sliders and layout, but one feature I like about this one is the graphical animation, showing the recommended calibration window and center position of your wheel.

I also particularly like that the wheel doesn't have to phase during startup, and no rotation to determine indexing is needed.

Settings and Options
The User Interface are available in simple and slightly more advanced options - I opted for the advanced one - it allows me to adjust wheel strength, Damping, Inertia, Friction. I will post a screenshot later.

Some comments on these in the section below.

First impressions
Well, the V2 is touted as the best DD FFB wheel out there - can it live up to the hype? According to earlier feedback on this, as well as many other forums, it is the best money can buy, and it is worth the premium you spent over other DD wheel technologies.

My take - I will highlight both the good and the bad:

The good:
The SS2 is a complete package, with (almost) all parts included to make it a complete DD wheel solution. Might be an idea, considering the cost of the overall package, to add the motor mount an shaft coupler as freebies, for those that want them.

The wheel response and tracking behaviour is top-class, I believe Leo has done wonders here in maximising the servo encoder (Smart Feedback Device) resolution what the control unit can accept, vs what Direct Input in Windows can accept. The controller unit is running at around 2million counts from the encoder, whilst this signal is stepped down to ~65,535 counts, the maximum windows can handle.

Numbers above theoretical and my deduction for what they might be, at least we know the SFD to be 2M counts.
Catching slides with the Ford GT3 around Monza was nice and easy, and natural, as you would expect in a real car. I could not fault the steering accuracy and response behaviour.

Both Damping and Friction worked very similar to how MMoS has implemented his, but the Inertia, WOW, that is on a different level - I played with the slider and could feel exactly what it was supposed to be doing. A big plus here, and you can definitely see what impact the high-resolution feedback device has on things like Friction, Inertia and Damping.

I suspect these features are residing directly on the controller unit, similar to the OSW, reducing latency and thus maximising the benefits and effects of these variables. Great job on this part, Leo, did I say Inertia felt really good? I also appreciated the fact that the results were applied as soon as you adjusted the sliders, no need to apply and wait (for Damping, friction, Inertia)

The Bad:
I suspect that Bodnar is applying a fair bit of filtering on the incoming FFB signal - I can understand why you are doing this, if it indeed is the case, which I hope, but you are filtering way to much.

Everyone was ranting and raving how the FFB felt like you were driving on real rubber - yes, this is true, it felt like rubber, but it is as if I am driving on soft under-inflated high-profile tyres, NOT on low-profile racing compound. It feels like you are averaging the raw FFB signal way to much, and whilst I am fast with your wheel, the experience is not that pleasant.

I know the first thing I will be told is to reduce the **Damping, Inertia and Friction - even when reducing these to 0%, the tyres are to soft under the car - I have done a bit of track-racing in my younger days, not much, but enough to understand what I am feeling here is to soft, I need a firmer ride, if that makes sense.

I settled on **Damping at 5%, both Friction and Inertia around the 8-10% level, this after 2-3 hours of experimenting.

The OSW is on the other extreme, the ride is harsher than it should be - somewhere in the middle between V2 and OSW would be a good compromise.

Main area for improvement:
(I renamed this as it was not really representative of what I was trying to convey.)
**Oscillation is one area where there needs to be changes to the fw and control-mechanism around this phenomenon should be investigated. To control oscillation, I have to run Damping at somewhere between 8-10%, Friction and Inertia at between 8-12%, then the wheel would behave itself very well, and no amount of enticing can induce oscillation.

But, at these settings, the damping is just killing the experience and the car feels even softer under foot, and not a pleasure to drive. Reducing the damping down to between 0-3% gives a somewhat better feel, but imho, still not close to ideal, but then, the oscillation reminds me of the old Argon controller I used in my first DD wheel.

Back then, I had to keep my hands on the wheel all the time, to prevent maniacal oscillations around center - it isn't fun trying to catch a wheel going crazy when running 25+ NM torque. Enough already, this brings me to my next section.

Recommendations
As I am the proud owner of a SS2 wheel, naturally I would like to see it improved further, and I believe you can do just that, with a few additions to your existing FW and UI.

1) Please firm up the ride - whilst the rubber feel is superb, it is way to soft for a race-car - we need a bit 'harsher' FFB

2) Would it be possible to allow low-level access to some of these parameters? For those like myself, who prefer to tinker, you could allow us to reduce 'filtering' on the incoming signal to a level that suits us better.

3) Please look at what Tero has done with the IONI FW and add something like a notch-filter, which will allow us to control oscillations a lot more efficiently. It should have very little impact on wheel response behaviour, whilst allowing us to reduce Damping to very low levels, should we choose to do so.

More to come, thank you for reading my initial impressions, guys. I will add edits as time pas, and new things as they are discovered.

Below pictured the original, borrowed from Leo Bodnar website.
3703653_orig.jpg
 
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User 9343

thnx beano for copy your impressions to us too. :)

did you opend the box and had a look for the controller and things?
maybe you dont want to publish those findings at the iracing forums, where leo will read them too, but i think they are fairly save here at the germans.. :p
 
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User 12058

Hey guys,
You are welcome, hopefully the feedback means something to someone.

i had opened the SS2 box from the back, but about the only thing to be seen is the PSU. The controller pcb is bolted to the front of the lid, and all the connectors visible on the front panel, seems to be soldered directly to the board. Nice to do it that way.

it means one day I have to open the front and remove the top, so basically taking it apart all the way. I might do that, but not immediately. I anyway will make block diagram about how I think the unit is operating on controller level, and what processor and stuff I believe is used.

Then later we can see if I was correct :)

Talk soon again, have a good one.

Cheers,
'Beano
 
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User 15376

Thanks for sharing, great stuff.

Will you also try to use the Kollmorgen with the Simucube or Argon controller?
 
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User 13885

Interesting to hear from you that Leo is manipulating the FFB-signal. For me this is in accordance with the experience in this thread: https://forum.virtualracing.org/showthread.php/101143-F1-2016/page8 (Post:#78).
Short translation for you: "F1 2016" is not playable. The Leo Bodnar support is aware of this but can not help.
I think Codemaster has "wrapped" the FFB-signals by up- or downscaling to units which Leo's FW can not read in the exact manner.

Interesting to read that different firmwares are handling the FFB behavior in different ways.

Comment by RacingMat:
- Ai-wave Leonardo firmware is the most complete
it manages Friction, Spring, Damper, Sine, Constant force, Ramp, Square, Triangle, SawtoothUp, SawtoothDown, Inertia
- MMos manages less effects but it's really good!
- OSW, I dunno
- Mizoo: no damping​
(Quotation from: https://www.xsimulator.net/communit...g-wheel-direct-drive-by-racingmat.6309/page-4)

You mention that the inertia effect is sensationally. If you compare the Leo inertia effect with the IONICUBE inertia effect (GD-FW 1.5.0), what's your opinion?

Please make a comparison of an AKM between Leo's controller and Tero's argon controller.
 
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User 12058

@Berniyh: I have an AKM 54G with 10K encoder on the way. So I will do this testing very soon, plus, I also have another special version AKM servo with 4M encoder.

I will also test that.

I have however, the last 2 weeks, again been using my SimuCube with Lenze (purchased from Dennis Reimer) and after fine-tuning and some tweaks to my settings, I actually prefer it over my V2.

It is as fast and precise from a driving perspective as the V2, but I like the feel of the Lenze over what the pre-processed V2 FFB with AKM servo combination gives me.

Just my pov anyway.

@Reinhard: I do not any longer have an assembled Argon.....so I cannot do that comparison. I would suspect it will be similar to the V2 controller, going by my past experience, except the Argon will most likely have slightly more oscillations under heavy torque settings.

Cheers,
Beano
 
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User 12473

Beano,

thank you for this interesting report

One more question

With which simulation programs you have tested

IRacing, ProjectCar, rFactor, R3E, Dirt etc. ?
 
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User 12058

Hey Mate,
'I usually drive only iRacing, but I did perform some testing in AC too.

cheers,
Beano

- - - Aktualisiert - - -

@Florentin: Here is the link for all you need, as mentioned in my PM to you....

https://forum.virtualracing.org/showthread.php/100800-Project-Bruteforce-3-The-Torque-Monster

Cheers,
Beano
 
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User 12983

A really interesting review! I changed my lenze against a simsteering2 akm53, and really dont regret it. Iracing feels lot smoother, and assetto corsa lot more like tires, i live the rubber feeling it produces! The ffb feels clean, some persons whould say it feels damped and filtered but i really love it. But i'm searching for the right app.ini values for the simsteering2 system, my lenze values have to much damping and produces oscillating, could you please tell me what values do you use in the ffb part off the app.ini file for iracing?
 
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User 4652

A really interesting review! I changed my lenze against a simsteering2 akm53, and really dont regret it. Iracing feels lot smoother, and assetto corsa lot more like tires, i live the rubber feeling it produces! The ffb feels clean, some persons whould say it feels damped and filtered but i really love it. But i'm searching for the right app.ini values for the simsteering2 system, my lenze values have to much damping and produces oscillating, could you please tell me what values do you use in the ffb part off the app.ini file for iracing?

Do you use Lenze with Argon or Simucube?


I have however, the last 2 weeks, again been using my SimuCube with Lenze (purchased from Dennis Reimer) and after fine-tuning and some tweaks to my settings, I actually prefer it over my V2.

Hi Beano, you have a new Lenze now (2016) ? Do you use new settings with it, different to the "old" ones ? Or have i misunderstood your comment ?
 
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User 12983

I was using osw lenze with argon, reimer motorsports plug and play kit v1. In terms of cogging the lenze is really out of competition but when it comes to natural ffb output and feeling, my personal winner is clearly my simsteering2.
 
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User 12058

@Frank: I will post screenshots of my latest settings by tomorrow, I have made changes.

@Pata: Lenze is completely transformed servo on the SimuCube with new tuning settings, other specialist notch filters etc. It is not comparable to old Argon.

Simucube really brings Lenze to life. But my comparison is my own view only, I own both Simsteering V2 and SimuCube Lenze, so totally my objective view.

cheers,
beano
 
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User 15376

so totally my objective view.
You mean subjective. ;)


But thanks for your impressions. Sounds good, since that (Lenze/Simucube) is exactly what I want to do.
(Hopefully Dennis has still one left when I'm going to order.)

The only thing I'm not yet sure about is if I'm going for the 960W PSU or the 480W PSU.
The latter would result in around 12 Nm holding torque and 18 Nm peak torque, which sounds fine by me.
Not really because of the price (difference between the two PSUs is around 50€, iirc), but because it's additional effort (buying the new PSU, selling the old one or buying everything separately).
 
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User 12058

Nope, I meant objective ;) The view is based on my experience, but devoid of emotions, fanboyism, stuff like that. Just my factual experience. English being my 2nd tongue, my choice of words was not the best, grammatically speaking.


Quoted from the interwebs:


'Objective' used as an adjective

  • 1.
    (of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

    An objective perspective is one that is not influenced by emotions, opinions, or personal feelings - it is a perspective based in fact, in things quantifiable and measurable. A subjective perspective is one open to greater interpretation based on personal feeling, emotion, aesthetics, etc.





 
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User 15376

Yes, and the last sentence reflects perfectly what you describe here.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a negative attribute at all, I respect your personal opinion. ;)
 

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